FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The New Iraqi Sovereignty

There’s got to be some irony in the US transference of control to Iraqi security forces while the Israelis pound Gaza.  Why?  Because, despite the hoopla in the US press and its Iraqi clones, the nature of the control being “given back” to the Iraqis seems quite similar to the control over Gaza that was given them by the Israelis when they withdrew their forces in 2005.  In other words, any control the Iraqi government and its security forces might now have can be removed at any time by US forces.  Indeed, the US forces are not even withdrawing.  They are merely turning the security details they performed for the past five years or so to Iraqi security forces whose essential existence depends on the presence of US forces populating bases around Iraq.

According to the Washington Post article about the transfer, “the long-term plan, which could change if security deteriorates, is to maintain a handful of heavily secured American compounds,” which would facilitate support, intelligence and other such functions on an ongoing basis.  In addition, the US forces will also be available for raids and other police and military actions when the US-approved government in Baghdad asks for their help.  While it is safe to assume that many of these actions will be at the genuine request of that government, it is also safe to expect that some will be at the behest of the US command.

While no one has suggested that this transfer of control is tantamount to the evacuation of US and allied forces from Saigon in 1975, the overall tone of the US mainstream media is that it is a step in that direction.  This is patent nonsense.  The nation of Iraq will not be rid of US military influence until every last US soldier is gone.  This means troops considered combat forces along with those in support, intelligence and advisory roles.  In case Americans have missed it, this fact will not exist on the ground for a long time.  This means, quite simply, that there is plenty of time for things to go in a direction unfavorable to Washington’s designs.  Should this occur, the likelihood of the recently negotiated Status of Forces Agreement existing in its current status diminishes rather quickly.  For those unfamiliar with the actualities of the agreement, there is a section that allows either Washington or any Iraqi government to abrogate the agreement at any time.  As for the rest of the agreement, US military officials are already on record calling into question elements of the agreement that limit their troops’ ability to conduct raids, move freely about the country, and defend US bases.

When it comes to Washington, the Bush administration has also questioned the interpretation of various parts of the agreement and has left it open for its successor to do the same.  These questions seem to stem from the Pentagon’s resistance to the limitations on its mobility and perceived mission a strict interpretation of the agreement would require.  Unless the Obama administration makes it clear that it will listen to US voters and begin the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq immediately, then the Pentagon will continue the occupation despite the opposition of the US and Iraqi people.  Unfortunately, Mr. Obama has made no indication that he will fulfill the hopes of those that want all US troops home now.  Like every other president of the US, he seems to have tuned out the voters and tuned in the generals.  It is up to us to reverse that situation.

Only a few hours after the United Nations mandate for Iraq expired and the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) went into effect, US forces opened fire on a female staffer for Iraq’s Biladi TV, critically wounding her. The reason for the attack was unclear.  This incident could be the first test of the SOFA.  After all, US forces are not supposed to do anything in Iraq without coordinating with the Iraqi government and aren’t supposed to have anything to do with civilians outside of an Iraqi court issued warrant. The possibility exists that this may be treated as a criminal assault and the US forces involved will be tried in an Iraqi court.  The greater likelihood, however, is that nothing will happen and that US forces will continue to operate like the occupying forces they are.  Kind of like the way the Israeli military operates in Gaza.

RON JACOBS is author of The Way the Wind Blew: a history of the Weather Underground, which is just republished by Verso. Jacobs’ essay on Big Bill Broonzy is featured in CounterPunch’s collection on music, art and sex, Serpents in the Garden. His first novel, Short Order Frame Up, is published by Mainstay Press. He can be reached at: rjacobs3625@charter.net

 

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. His latest offering is a pamphlet titled Capitalism: Is the Problem.  He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: ronj1955@gmail.com.

September 18, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Britain: the Anti-Semitism Debate
Tamara Pearson
Why Mexico’s Next President is No Friend of Migrants
Richard Moser
Both the Commune and Revolution
Nick Pemberton
Serena 15, Tennis Love
Binoy Kampmark
Inconvenient Realities: Climate Change and the South Pacific
Martin Billheimer
La Grand’Route: Waiting for the Bus
John Kendall Hawkins
Seymour Hersh: a Life of Adversarial Democracy at Work
Faisal Khan
Is Israel a Democracy?
John Feffer
The GOP Wants Trumpism…Without Trump
Kim Ives
The Roots of Haiti’s Movement for PetroCaribe Transparency
Dave Lindorff
We Already Have a Fake Billionaire President; Why Would We want a Real One Running in 2020?
Gerry Brown
Is China Springing Debt Traps or Throwing a Lifeline to Countries in Distress?
Pete Tucker
The Washington Post Really Wants to Stop Ben Jealous
Dean Baker
Getting It Wrong Again: Consumer Spending and the Great Recession
September 17, 2018
Melvin Goodman
What is to be Done?
Rob Urie
American Fascism
Patrick Cockburn
The Adults in the White House Trying to Save the US From Trump Are Just as Dangerous as He Is
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
The Long Fall of Bob Woodward: From Nixon’s Nemesis to Cheney’s Savior
Mairead Maguire
Demonization of Russia in a New Cold War Era
Dean Baker
The Bank Bailout of 2008 was Unnecessary
Wim Laven
Hurricane Trump, Season 2
Yves Engler
Smearing Dimitri Lascaris
Ron Jacobs
From ROTC to Revolution and Beyond
Clark T. Scott
The Cannibals of Horsepower
Binoy Kampmark
A Traditional Right: Jimmie Åkesson and the Sweden Democrats
Laura Flanders
History Markers
Weekend Edition
September 14, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Carl Boggs
Obama’s Imperial Presidency
Joshua Frank
From CO2 to Methane, Trump’s Hurricane of Destruction
Jeffrey St. Clair
Maria’s Missing Dead
Andrew Levine
A Bulwark Against the Idiocy of Conservatives Like Brett Kavanaugh
T.J. Coles
Neil deGrasse Tyson: A Celebrity Salesman for the Military-Industrial-Complex
Jeff Ballinger
Nike and Colin Kaepernick: Fronting the Bigots’ Team
David Rosen
Why Stop at Roe? How “Settled Law” Can be Overturned
Gary Olson
Pope Francis and the Battle Over Cultural Terrain
Nick Pemberton
Donald The Victim: A Product of Post-9/11 America
Ramzy Baroud
The Veiled Danger of the ‘Dead’ Oslo Accords
Kevin Martin
U.S. Support for the Bombing of Yemen to Continue
Robert Fisk
A Murder in Aleppo
Robert Hunziker
The Elite World Order in Jitters
Ben Dangl
After 9/11: The Staggering Economic and Human Cost of the War on Terror
Charles Pierson
Invade The Hague! Bolton vs. the ICC
Robert Fantina
Trump and Palestine
Daniel Warner
Hubris on and Off the Court
John Kendall Hawkins
Boning Up on Eternal Recurrence, Kubrick-style: “2001,” Revisited
Haydar Khan
Set Theory of the Left
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail